TOLENTINO: Notice of tree removal

Guest Column

42nd Street Shuttle

A man fell on the subway today. I was watching people slip through the metal doors connecting our car to the next, this door then that door sliding open, and shut, bouncing on the mechanism, open, and shut, when a woman said, “Oh…” Everyone turned to see him sprawled across the gap between our train […]

Personal Essay

Between the Objects of the World

Mid-September. The Litchfield Turnpike is taking me north, past the last overpasses and traffic lights of the suburban world. North, to Bethany. Up here, there are no sidewalks, no curbs. Without its concrete frills, “the road” is just a slab of asphalt in the woods, a sludgy, petrified thing, so unlike the forest floor beneath […]

Personal Essay

First Words

The first words of this poem are the and first, and then—words, and that is all there is.   A palm reflecting sunlight toward the cheek.   The ability to laugh at weakness.   To dry a rose in a desk-top vase day by day by day.   A clock glimpsed in a dream or […]


From the Forge

Nothing prepares you to handle a pickaxe for the first time. You don’t anticipate the heft of it, the welt of solid iron, the brutishness of the shape. The name becomes scrutable: A pick, because that’s what it does. An axe, because it’s built like one and because you swing it. The function of a […]

Personal Essay


February 2, 2013  This begins in the graveyard, which, today, is actually a cheery place. It’s Saturday. It’s sunny. It’s warm for February. There are birds chattering in the trees that are everywhere. Two friends and I are here to read and lie on the grass, to shed the week’s noise. We walk along the […]

Personal Essay